Short-handed Cornhuskers no match for Volunteers
MUSIC CITY BOWL: TENNESSEE 38, NO. 24 NEBRASKA 24
nashville, tenn.» Joshua Dobbs finished his Tennessee career making one final move, helping All-America defensive lineman Derek Barnett figure out how to lead the band in “Rocky Top.”
“I was a little nervous,” Barnett said with a laugh.
Dobbs quickly chimed in: “He asked me what to do.”
The duo led Tennessee in celebrating Friday after the Volunteers beat No. 24 Nebraska 38-24 in the Music City Bowl. Dobbs ran for three touchdowns and 118 yards and threw for 291 yards and another TD, while Barnett got the sack he needed to break a tie with the late Reggie White for the Volunteers’ career record.
The Volunteers (9-4) beat a Big Ten team in a bowl game for a third consecutive year and posted their first win in three tries against the Cornhuskers. It’s the first time Tennessee has won three consecutive bowl games since 1994-96, when Peyton Manning was the Vols’ quarterback.
“Great competitor,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said of Dobbs. “I knew he was going to play one of his best games. I was worried he was too amped up before the game. I told him he had four quarters of football, don’t win it in the first quarter, take what they give you.”
Tennessee took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter and finished with 521 total yards, compared with Nebraska’s 318.
Nebraska started the season 7-0 but finished with a 9-4 record. The Cornhuskers lost four of their final six games after rising as high as No. 7 in the national rankings.
Ryker Fyfe, a fifth-year senior and former walk-on, started at quarterback for the injured Tommy Armstrong Jr., a four-year starter. Fyfe pulled Nebraska within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He threw two TD passes to Brandon Reilly and ran for a 9yard touchdown with 10:02 left in the fourth quarter to pull the Cornhuskers within 31-24.
But Dobbs answered with a 59yard TD pass to Josh Malone for the final margin, and second-year Nebraska coach Mike Riley said Dobbs’ athleticism was a factor.
“He did a nice job of throwing balls right on time,” Riley said. “But it looked like to me, too, that when it wasn’t there, he moved around and bought time.”
Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs scores against Nebraska on Friday. Dobbs had 409 total yards. Frederick Breedon, Getty Images